Sinn Féin is still trying to wish away economic realities of a united Ireland

Newton Emerson: Party is peddling frustrating nonsense about the UK subvention

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty: his press release  rehashes the  claim that Northern Ireland’s subvention  is about half the official figure. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty: his press release rehashes the claim that Northern Ireland’s subvention is about half the official figure. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Economics should be the interesting and constructive part of discussing a united Ireland, elevating debate above sterile or dangerous arguments about nationalism and identity. That was how the SNP-led Scottish government saw the subject ahead of the 2014 independence referendum. Economic issues were the focus of its engagement with the Scottish people, culminating in its 2013 White Paper on an independent Scotland. There were terrible sins of omission, inaccuracy and spin in the SNP’s case, but many challenges were acknowledged through an economic lens, purposefully chosen to manage public passions and expectations.

It is even more important to attempt this in Ireland, where debate otherwise slips at once into the rights and wrongs of history. So it is truly frustrating that Sinn Féin keeps repeating an economic argument that is trite, petulant, vaguely Anglophobic and transparently absurd.

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